Huh? I thought Dan Quayle was retired.

Background: I was living in Norway when the beloved king died in January of 1991. I forget his name, but probably Olav. All Norwegians are required to be named Olav or Tor at birth, based on the same European law that requires all Finns to be named Pertti or Jakko, all Irishmen to be named Sean or Patrick, and all Austrians to be named Franz, without exception.

Anyway, because it was the time of the Gulf War, Bush the Elder needed to send somebody inessential to represent the USA, so Dan Quayle was dispatched to the funeral ceremonies. Perfect choice. As I recall, Quayle’s middle name was actually Inessential. Although he was somehow a hair’s-breadth from the presidency, his level of incompetence would have been seat-filler at the Oscar ceremonies.

The problem in Norway was that Quayle was inessential for a very good reason – he was dumb as a box of rocks. He attended the funeral in a tan summer suit and street shoes.

In Oslo.

In January.

To a state funeral.

Within a few minutes in Oslo, his pants were covered with slush and he looked like a little kid who went out to play in the snow in his big boy pants, but without his boots. Plus there was the whole wacky move of wearing tan to a funeral. Talk about time for Bugs Bunny to appear and declare “what a maroon.” And that is how Norwegians probably picture Americans to this day.

(For a few weeks afterwards, we American expats were all pretending to be Canadian. It’s easy to do. Just say “oat” instead of “out,” “a boat” instead of “about,” make every sentence into a question ending with “eh?” – and apologize for everything.)

OK, that’s a funny concept. I get it.

What I don’t get is why a store named Canadian Tire is advertising a back-to-school special in their window banners. Kids in Canada must have a special back-to-school experience – they get some new pencils and notebooks, a few new items for their wardrobe, and a set of radials.

Based on that window banner, the fact that they sell Mr. Potato Head, and the outdoor flower display, I’m gonna take a guess without looking it up that a Canadian Tire store is not like a Firestone Tire in the USA. I guess you can’t make much money selling just tires to a nation where the most common form of transportation begins with “On, King! On, you huskies!”

I can’t figure out why, but whenever I played Wild West with my childhood friends, they would all laugh at me when I said, “I arrest you in the name of the crown!” I guess maybe I should have watched some American westerns.

By the way, my Russian ancestors failed miserably at winter transportation. My great-grandfather, Дядя Скупов, kept tinkering with animal-driven sleds, but he never could figure the right animal. I suppose his worst failing was the cat sled. You needed about 500 of them just to budge the sled, and then they’d all wander in different directions when he would bark his famous command, “On, Puff! On, you tabbies!” Now that I think about it, the cat sled wasn’t his worst idea. The poor man died tragically the first day he tested his ill-fated jaguar sled.

A 42-year-old Zamboni driver won his first NHL game Saturday after being tapped to play as an emergency goalie for the opposing team. Dave Ayres stepped in for the Carolina Hurricanes after both the team’s goalies had to leave the game with injuries, prompting the Zamboni driver to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the home team.”

Read that again carefully, because it’s even stranger than you think. Ayres works as a Zamboni driver and area maintenance worker for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, but he played AGAINST the Leafs, after having been loaned to the other team – and he essentially beat his own employers.

(This seems to be SOP in hockey, as I understand it. This is all new to me, but I just read that every game has a designated emergency goalie, provided by the home team, but available to either team in case both of their roster goalies are incapacitated in the same game.)

Authorities seize 12.7 tons of beaver penises” with a street value of $24 million.

That means beaver dicks are worth about sixty dollars an ounce! To quote the great Jeff Spicoli …

“Approximately 400,000 to 600,000 beavers must have been killed to produce the 12.7 tons of penises”

The Canadians were shipping them to China. Apparently the Chinese think beaver dicks make one … er … sexually vigorous.

This is not to be confused with the most Canadian HEADLINE ever …

Woman hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose

I feel like such a failure. I go to Canada every year for either the Toronto or the Montreal jazz festival, and yet I have never seen a beaver or a moose there. I’m pretty sure the Canadians are hiding them just to teach me a lesson of some kind.

To me the most Canadian thing I experience is having to pay the roadway tolls in pelts. If you’re taking a long trip and have a small car with little room for spare furs, you have to keep stopping at a currency store to exchange more Greenbacks. Then it’s so hard to stuff those pelts into the container at the unmanned toll booths. I still prefer those to the manned booths, though. I always get cheated there. The last time I drove the QEW, the toll was a beaver pelt and I didn’t have exact change, so I gave them a moose, and they only gave me two hooves for change. Everyone knows the rate is three. Fucking hosers.